Hundreds of social workers came together this week to share best practice and help further improve services for Wolverhampton’s vulnerable children, adults and families.

The City of Wolverhampton Council's fourth annual Adults and Children’s Social Work Conference, held at Wolverhampton Racecourse yesterday (Wednesday 27 March, 2019), brought together around 240 social workers to focus on the theme of Human Rights and Exploitation.

The audience heard a powerful keynote speech by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, the founder of Karma Nirvana, the award winning charity that supports both men and women affected by honour based abuse and forced marriage, who shared her experiences of forced marriage.

Chris Fox from West Midlands Police then spoke about County Lines and the crime of cuckooing, where drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person to use it as a base for drug dealing, before a series of workshops focused on child sexual exploitation, gangs and youth violence, substance misuse and modern slavery.

There was also the opportunity for delegates to share success stories about the work of the council’s Children and Young People’s and Adult Social Care services.

Louise Haughton, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Principal Social Worker, said: "We are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve services and outcomes for children and young people, families and vulnerable adults in Wolverhampton.

“This important event, now in its fourth year, was a brilliant opportunity to have so many social workers in one place, learning together, sharing best practice and helping to develop new ways in which we and our partners can further support people in times of need.

“We would particularly like to thank Jasvinder Sanghera CBE and Chris Fox for taking the time to join us, and for representatives from Catch 22, Barnardo’s and Recovery Near You and social worker Brian Keenan  and safeguarding manager Paula Morris for delivering the workshops which helped those in attendance to explore issues around human rights and exploitation.”

Emma Bennett, Director of Children's Services, said: "We are continuing to transform our services to improve help and support we are able to give local residents, but it is out social workers and other frontline practitioners who really make the difference."

David Watts, Director of Adult Services, added: "As well as an opportunity to reflect, learn and develop, the conference was a chance for us to say a massive thank you to the hundreds of professionals who work tirelessly, day in, day out, to secure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people, families and adults with additional needs.”